What Is the Setting of "Ender's Game"?

by Brenda Priddy

"Ender's Game" has been well read ever since its publication, first as a short story in 1977, and then in its 1985 expanded novel format. The story follows a gifted child, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin as he grows up in military school. This military school doesn't prepare children to fight in a human war, but rather prepares them to fight buglike aliens.

Time

The setting of "Ender's Game" is that of the not-too-distant future. The story begins when Ender is just a child of six years old. Ender is taken to Battle School, where he stays until the age of 11. From ages 11 to 13, Ender studies at Command School. The last section of the book deals with Ender as a young adult. The entire book encompasses a period of about 20 to 30 years.

Earth

The setting for Earth is designed to bring a feeling of peace or safety to the story. This sense of security contrasts harshly with the other settings in the book, when Ender is away from home. Earth looks the same as it does now, but with a little more technology. Green landscapes and regular suburban neighborhoods make the framework of Ender's Earth. This setting plays a role throughout the book in developing the characters of Valentine and Peter.

Battle School

Battle School is a space station built by humans for military training. The school turns around a central zero-gravity field, which the children use for space training. Colored lights along the walls give the children and teachers directions to the different parts of the facility. The overall appearance of Battle School is stark and uncluttered. The school contains dorms, a cafeteria, weight rooms, showers and classrooms for study. There are few girls at Battle School, and consequently there are no divisions between the genders.

Command School

Command School is housed in an old bugger hideout on an asteroid near to Earth. The passageways look similar to those in an anthill, including rounded tunnels and thousands of narrow hallways. The construction of Command School makes it appear like you are always walking down. The overall effect is very claustrophobic. Command School contains individual rooms for each student and has a large video theater as well as smaller classrooms.

After School

The setting of the story after Ender leaves Command School is blurred changes often. Ender travels the universe on a high-tech colony ship visiting different worlds. Each world has its own distinct appearance. One notable planet is the world where the buggers contact Ender. One section was built to resemble Ender's childhood game complete with a playground and skeleton of a dead giant. On this world, Ender visits a small, dark cave and reconnects with the aliens inside.